President Trump during a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday predicted that we could see a coronavirus vaccine available to the public as early as December.
“I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Trump told the moderators, Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, saying he was “very confident” in the assessment. “We’ll have a vaccine much sooner rather than later.”
That timeline puts us notably ahead of previous estimates from public and private sector experts who said a vaccine would take at a minimum, 18 months if not longer. Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, said this weekend it was “doable if things fall in the right place” to have a vaccine by January.
Trump also predicted that the U.S. would be self-reliant on antibiotics, without needing to rely on China, within two years. Republicans have said it’s “crazy” that America is reliant on China, a communist adversary, for critical supplies including antibiotics.
Trump went on to assert that Democrats and media organizations, who have mocked him for touting the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine in fighting coronavirus, were motivated by politics and “don’t want to see a good result.”
“I’m standing up there and instead of a normal question, the level of anger and hatred. I’ll look at them, I’ll say ‘what is your problem?'” Trump said at the town hall, referring to how the media treated him during White House coronavirus briefings.
Joe Biden, media outlets and other Democrats, Trump pointed out, had initially characterized his January travel ban on China as xenophobic, before changing their tune.
Baier asked Trump about a recent Biden tweet saying Trump had left the U.S. “unprepared” for a pandemic, Trump squashed Biden’s attack.
“Joe Biden didn’t write that. That was written by a young man who got very good grades at a very good school.”
Trump then pivoted to China, saying the purposely misled the world on coronavirus. “I think, personally, they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it,” Trump said.
He then added that China had misled the World Health Organization. “The World Health Organization has been a disaster,” Trump said. “Everything they’ve said was wrong. And they’re China-centric. They agree with China, whatever China wants to do. So our country, perhaps foolishly in retrospect, has been paying $450 million a year to the World Health Organization. And China’s been paying $38 million a year. … So I’ll have to make a decision on that. … They missed every single call.”
Even left-wing media darling Politico reported on Sunday, citing the Department of Homeland Security, that China delayed informing the WHO that the coronavirus was contagious until it could first stockpile masks and other critical equipment.
This comes after the leakage of a research dossier compiled by the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, that reportedly concludes China intentionally hid or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus pandemic, is consistent with U.S. findings about the origins of the outbreak so far.
For now, though, Trump made clear he was focused on confronting the pandemic more than political considerations. Asked at the end of the town hall what he had told family members about the crisis, Trump sounded an optimistic note.
“I sat down with my son, I sat down with my grandchildren. I said a terrible thing has happened,” the president told Baier. “But we’re going to be strong, we’re going to get out of it, and our country’s going to be bigger, better, and stronger than ever before.”